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Lions Roar : September 2008
53 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 SERVING FOOD In this food, I see clearly the entire universe supporting my existence. When we look at our plate, filled with fragrant and appetiz- ing food, we should be aware of the bitter pain of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Looking at our plate, we can see Mother Earth, the farm workers, and the tragedy of the unequal distribution of resources. We who live in North America and Europe are accustomed to eating foods imported from other countries, whether it is coffee from Colombia, chocolate from Ghana, or fragrant rice from Thailand. Many children in these countries, except those from rich families, never see the fine products that are put aside for export in order to bring in money. Before a meal, we can join our palms in mindfulness and think about those who do not have enough to eat. Slowly and mind- fully, we breathe three times and recite this gatha. Doing so will help us maintain mindfulness. May we find ways to live more simply in order to have more time and energy to change the system of injustice that exists in the world. RECYCLING In the garbage, I see a rose. In the rose, I see the garbage. Everything is in transformation. Even permanence is impermanent. Whenever we throw something away, whether in the garbage can, the compost, or the recycling, it can smell terrible. Rotting organic matter smells especially terrible. But it can also become rich compost for fertilizing the garden. The fragrant rose and the stinking garbage are two sides of the same existence. Without one, the other cannot be. Everything is in transformation. The rose that wilts after six days will become a part of the garbage. After six months the garbage is transformed into a rose. When we speak of impermanence, we understand that everything is in transformation. This becomes that, and that becomes this. Looking deeply, we can contemplate one thing and see every- thing else in it. We are not disturbed by change when we see the interconnectedness and continuity of all things. It is not that the life of any individual is permanent, but that life itself continues. When we identify ourselves with life and go beyond the bound- aries of a separate identity, we shall be able to see permanence in the impermanent, or the rose in the garbage. ♦ Meditations for Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hanh SEPT 48-55.indd 53 SEPT 48-55.indd 53 7/3/08 1:31:29 PM 7/3/08 1:31:29 PM